Zambia and Botswana played out to a goal-less draw at Isaac Wolfson Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, in South Africa, Tuesday to eliminate Malawi from the Cosafa Women’s Championship.
The She-Flames needed neighbourly love from Zambia to book the semi-final spot as the overall best runners-up of the tournament after accumulating six points from three games, having beaten Madagascar 2-0 and Comoros Islands 13-0 but lost 3-1 to South Africa.
Malawi could have qualified as the second-best loser across all the three four-member groups had the Group B match between Zambia and Botswana, who went into yesterday’s match on six points each, produced a winner.
But Zambia striker Rachael Nachula missed a penalty in a bizarre situation, much to the disappointment of the She-Flames who watched the match from their hotel.
Zambia qualified for the semi-finals as Group B leaders with seven points from three games, at par with second-placed Botswana from similar number of games.
Zambia and Botswana face each other in the semi-finals tomorrow whereas South Africa date Zimbabwe at the same venue.
South Africa and Zimbabwe finished as Group A and C leaders. Cosafa rules and regulations of the competition say: “At the end of the preliminary round, the winners of each group and the best second positioned team from the three groups will qualify for the semi-finals.
“In the event that the best second positioned team is from Group B, the organising committee will at its discretion alter the fixtures accordingly.”
However, She-Flames Coach, Abel Mkandawire, said they learnt a lot of things during the competition.
“We have learnt several things and it was a good tournament for us. We did everything for us to qualify for semi-finals but we were waiting for results from other groups. We have to accept it. That is part of football,” Mkandawire said.
Malawi scored 16 goals and conceded three goals.